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Threat of animal bites not restricted to certain breeds

With warmer weather right around the corner, many Worcester residents are likely to be out and about in the coming months. Once temperatures rise, local walkers, joggers, bicyclists and children tend to be out in full force. In addition, those with pets, especially dogs, are also likely to be sharing space with all of the above, leading to the risk of dog bites and injuries.

Contrary to popular belief, the risk of a dog bite is not restricted to breeds usually considered aggressive. According to a literature review from the American Veterinary Medical Association's Animal Welfare Division, a wide range of dog breeds have been involved in serious dog bite incidents. Several different studies show that among the most prevalent breeds are German shepherds, "pit bull-type" dogs and rottweilers. While these breeds may have been expected, several others may prove more surprising: Jack Russell terriers, spaniels, chow chows and collies also appeared among the breeds frequently implicated in dog bite incidents.

Despite may be popular stigmas, the studies pointed to many medium-sized and smaller dogs as having aggressive tendencies. For vulnerable populations, such as children or the elderly, the threat of an animal bite injury from even a small dog may be a concern for parents and caretakers.

Regardless of the type of dog one owns, it is possible to take effective steps to prevent a dog from biting. Properly socializing a dog as a puppy, spaying and neutering dogs and keeping dogs on a leash or behind a fence are simple steps that can go a long way towards preventing a dog attack or bite incident.

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association, "Dog bite risk and prevention: The role of breed," March 12, 2015

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